Tutorial: Shop Made Cauls

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Forum topic by Mike_Henderson posted 12-05-2009 07:25 AM 7269 views 19 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 4112 days

12-05-2009 07:25 AM

I recently did a tutorial on making cauls. I’m sure many of you already know how to make cauls but new woodworkers often do not.

For those of you experienced, I’d appreciate comments and suggestions – especially on better ways to make cauls.


15 replies so far

View noblevfd's profile


48 posts in 4462 days

#1 posted 12-05-2009 08:19 AM

nice tutorial Mike I’m kind of new to woodworking I’ve used cauls before but just used jointer to S one side This should help next time to get better results thanks noblevfd Bob

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4897 days

#2 posted 12-05-2009 08:44 AM

Good tutorial. I use the Rockler clamps because I get vertical caul and horizontal clamping functionality together. They are a little pricey, but reduces my number of clamps.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View lew's profile


13309 posts in 4760 days

#3 posted 12-06-2009 12:30 AM

Thanks, Mike! Some how I missed this tutorial. This will be my next project.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View charlie48's profile


248 posts in 4175 days

#4 posted 12-06-2009 04:39 AM

Thanks Mike,Very good tutorial! I’ll put it in my favorites, and make some when I finish the shop.

-- Charlie............Only time will tell if it was time well spent.

View PurpLev's profile


8645 posts in 4653 days

#5 posted 12-06-2009 05:02 AM

Fantastic tutorial! thanks for the post.

You mentioned that you can use premium 2×4s. another option is to go straight for the 2×12s which usually have straighter grains, and lesser knots than the 2×4s as those are supposed to perform as support beams which should have more structural strength and require better quality lumber. then you can rip the 2×12 to size which allows you to also completely get rid of any knots, and achieve a clear board for the cauls.

just my $.02, and Thanks again. Cauls are so simple, and provide such great benefit that we all need

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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20239 posts in 4681 days

#6 posted 12-06-2009 10:10 AM

That was pretty good. Nice webpage.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Mike_Henderson's profile


18 posts in 4112 days

#7 posted 12-06-2009 11:30 PM

Reply to notottoman – The cauls will have a curve on them if there’s full contact all along the joint when you clamp one caul down, or clamp two cauls together as I show in my tutorial. The specific curve is a catenary curve, which is the same curve you’d get if you hung a rope or chain between two anchor points.

But you don’t need to worry about the mathematics – you can get full contact with a hand plane and trial and error.


View Gibney's profile


8 posts in 2948 days

#8 posted 03-09-2013 07:39 PM

very helpful tutorial! thank you.

View nwbusa's profile


1023 posts in 3291 days

#9 posted 03-09-2013 08:50 PM

Here’s an example of an old post that I’m glad got bumped, even though it looks like the OP isn’t active here now. I’ll be adding this to my list of projects-to-do, with many thanks.

-- John, BC, Canada

View waho6o9's profile


8995 posts in 3582 days

#10 posted 03-09-2013 08:51 PM

A plethora of info and great ideas on this site as well.

View Mike_Henderson's profile


18 posts in 4112 days

#11 posted 03-10-2013 12:05 AM

I’m still here but I tend to hang out at SawMill Creek. I have a bunch of other tutorials on my web site I hope some people find them interesting. I also have some of my tutorials on


View MrFid's profile


908 posts in 2909 days

#12 posted 03-13-2013 01:57 PM

Oh thanks for posting this. You are right as a newer woodworker your post was especially helpful. Automatic bookmark and I’ll be following your work!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3447 days

#13 posted 03-13-2014 05:38 PM

Great tutorial I just came across referenced from another member (waho6o9). Also bookmarked your personal website as it has a lot of good info. Thanks.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View jdh122's profile


1222 posts in 3823 days

#14 posted 03-13-2014 06:57 PM

Nice tutorial.
Another approach, using a jointer:

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View gamygeezer's profile


169 posts in 2590 days

#15 posted 03-13-2014 09:28 PM

I have a number of “natural” cauls from all the crooked lumber that seems to breed in my shop. I try to only keep the symmetrical ones, but I see now how I might tune them up a little.


-- What's a vibrant young guy like me doing in a broken down old body like this?

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